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Venture-backed exits rise modestly in second quarter

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Companies backed by venture-capital firms tapped markets for modest initial public offerings while merger activity slowed in the second quarter, indicating a lackluster environment for start-ups seeking to cash in on their success.

While 21 companies held IPOs - more than any quarter since 2007 - the average amount raised was a fairly modest $102.6 million, according to data from Thomson Reuters and the National Venture Capital Association. More than half of the offerings came from the life sciences field, including biotechnology.

A year earlier, just 11 companies held IPOs, raising an average of $1.56 billion. That sum was inflated by the May 2012 IPO of social network Facebook , which raised $16 billion.

The number of venture-backed companies that were acquired by other companies dropped to 83 in the second quarter from 122 a year earlier. For the 14 that reported the value of their deals, the total value was $2.4 billion.

"While on the surface, the low acquisitions volume thus far in 2013 could appear problematic, our market intelligence is telling us that there is a great deal of inbound interest for venture-backed targets," Mark Heessen, president of the NVCA, said in a statement. He believes venture-backed companies could be holding out for better pricing from strategic buyers.

Tableau Software , an analytics and data-virtualization software company, held the largest IPO of the second quarter, raising $292 million.

Some 39 venture-backed companies have filed to hold IPOs, not including companies that have filed privately under the JOBS Act, the NVCA said.

The largest acquisition of a venture-backed company was Yahoo's acquisition of Tumblr, a blogging platform.

(Reporting by Sarah McBride; Editing by Leslie Adler)

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